After the onset of the Cold War
, Truman oversaw the Berlin Airlift
and Marshall Plan
in 1948. When North Korea
invaded South Korea
in 1950, he gained United Nations
approval to intervene in the Korean War
. He did not ask for Congressional approval, and as the war stalemated his popularity fell. His administration successfully guided the U.S. economy through the postwar economic challenges; the expected postwar depression never happened. In 1948, he submitted the first comprehensive civil rights legislation. It did not pass, so he instead issued Executive Orders 9980 and 9981
to begin racial equality in federal agencies and the military.
Corruption in the Truman administration became a central campaign issue in the 1952 presidential election
. He was eligible for reelection in 1952, but with weak polls he decided not to run. Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower
attacked Truman's record and won easily. Truman went into a financially difficult retirement marked by the founding of his presidential library and the publication of his memoirs. When he left office, Truman's presidency was heavily criticized, though critical reassessment
of his tenure has been favorable.
Early life, family, and education
Truman at age 13 in 1897
Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri
, on May 8, 1884, the oldest child of John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen Young Truman
. He was named for his maternal uncle, Harrison "Harry" Young. His middle initial, "S", honors his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young.[b]
A brother, John Vivian, was born soon after Harry, followed by sister Mary Jane.
Truman's ancestry is primarily English
with some Scots-Irish
, and French
John Truman was a farmer and livestock dealer. The family lived in Lamar until Harry was ten months old, when they moved to a farm near Harrisonville, Missouri
. The family next moved to Belton
and in 1887 to his grandparents' 600-acre (240 ha) farm in Grandview
When Truman was six, his parents moved to Independence, Missouri
, so he could attend the Presbyterian
Church Sunday School. He did not attend a conventional school until he was eight.
While living in Independence, he served as a Shabbos goy
for Jewish neighbors, doing tasks for them on Shabbat
that their religion prevented them from doing on that day.
Truman was interested in music, reading, and history, all encouraged by his mother, with whom he was very close. As president, he solicited political as well as personal advice from her.
He rose at five every morning to practice the piano, which he studied more than twice a week until he was fifteen, becoming quite a skilled player.
Truman worked as a page
at the 1900 Democratic National Convention
in Kansas City
his father had many friends active in the Democratic Party who helped young Harry to gain his first political position.
After graduating from Independence High School
in 1901, Truman enrolled in Spalding's Commercial College, a Kansas City business school. He studied bookkeeping, shorthand, and typing but left after a year.
He returned in 1906 to the Grandview farm, where he lived until entering the army in 1917.
During this period, he courted Bess Wallace
. He proposed in 1911, but she turned him down. Truman later said he intended to propose again, but he wanted to have a better income than that earned by a farmer.
To that end, during his years on the farm and immediately after World War I, he became active in several business ventures, including a lead and zinc mine near Commerce, Oklahoma
a company that bought land and leased the oil drilling rights to prospectors,
and speculation in Kansas City real estate.
Truman occasionally derived some income from these enterprises, but none proved successful in the long term.
Truman is the only president since William McKinley
(elected in 1896) who did not earn a college degree.
In addition to having briefly attended business college, from 1923 to 1925 he took night courses toward an LL.B.
at the Kansas City Law School (now the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law
) but dropped out after losing reelection as county judge.
He was informed by attorneys in the Kansas City area that his education and experience were probably sufficient to receive a license to practice law. He did not pursue it, however, because he won election as presiding judge.
While serving as president in 1947, Truman applied for a license to practice law.
A friend who was an attorney began working out the arrangements, and he informed Truman that his application had to be notarized. By the time Truman received this information he had changed his mind, so he never sought notarization. After the rediscovery of Truman's application, in 1996 the Missouri Supreme Court
issued Truman a posthumous honorary law license.
Because he lacked the funds for college, Truman considered attending the United States Military Academy
at West Point, New York
, which had no tuition, but he was refused an appointment because of poor eyesight.
He enlisted in the Missouri National Guard
in 1905 and served until 1911 in the Kansas City-based Battery
B, 2nd Missouri Field Artillery Regiment, in which he attained the rank of corporal
At his induction, his eyesight without glasses was unacceptable 20/50
in the right eye and 20/400 in the left (past the standard for legal blindness).
The second time he took the test, he passed by secretly memorizing the eye chart.
He was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, gray eyed
, dark haired and of light complexion.
Truman in uniform, c. 1918
World War I
When the United States entered World War I
in 1917, Truman rejoined Battery B, successfully recruiting new soldiers for the expanding unit, for which he was elected as their first lieutenant
Before deployment to France, Truman was sent for training to Camp Doniphan
, Fort Sill
, near Lawton, Oklahoma
when his regiment was federalized as the 129th Field Artillery
The regimental commander during its training was Robert M. Danford
, who later served as the Army's Chief of Field Artillery.
Truman later said he learned more practical, useful information from Danford in six weeks than from six months of formal Army instruction, and when Truman later served as an artillery instructor, he consciously patterned his approach on Danford's.
Truman also ran the camp canteen
with Edward Jacobson
, a clothing store clerk he knew from Kansas City. Unlike most canteens funded by unit members, which usually lost money, the canteen operated by Truman and Jacobson turned a profit, returning each soldier's initial $2 investment and $10,000 in dividends in six months.
At Fort Sill, Truman met Lieutenant James M. Pendergast, nephew of Tom Pendergast
, a Kansas City political boss, a connection that had a profound influence on Truman's later life.
In mid-1918, about one million soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces
were in France.
Truman was promoted to captain
effective April 23,
and in July became commander of the newly arrived Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, 35th Division
Battery D was known for its discipline problems, and Truman was initially unpopular because of his efforts to restore order.
Despite attempts by the men to intimidate him into quitting, Truman succeeded by making his corporals and sergeants accountable for discipline. He promised to back them up if they performed capably, and reduce them to private if they did not.
In an event memorialized in battery lore as "The Battle of Who Run", his soldiers began to flee during a sudden night attack by the Germans in the Vosges Mountains
; Truman succeeded at ordering his men to stay and fight, using profanity from his railroad days. The men were so surprised to hear Truman use such language that they immediately obeyed.
Truman's unit joined in a massive prearranged assault barrage on September 26, 1918, at the opening of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive
They advanced with difficulty over pitted terrain
to follow the infantry, and set up an observation post west of Cheppy
On September 27, Truman saw through his binoculars an enemy artillery battery setting up across a river in a position allowing them to fire upon the neighboring 28th Division
Truman's orders limited him to targets facing the 35th Division, but he ignored this and patiently waited until the Germans had walked their horses well away from their guns, ensuring they could not relocate out of range of Truman's battery.
He then ordered his men to open fire, and their attack destroyed the enemy battery.
His actions were credited with saving the lives of 28th Division soldiers who otherwise would have come under fire from the Germans.
Truman was given a dressing down by his regimental commander, Colonel Karl D. Klemm, who threatened to convene a court-martial, but Klemm never followed through, and Truman was not punished.
In other action during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Truman's battery provided support for George S. Patton
's tank brigade,
and fired some of the last shots of the war on November 11, 1918. Battery D did not lose any men while under Truman's command in France. To show their appreciation of his leadership, his men presented him with a large loving cup
upon their return to the United States after the war.
The war was a transformative experience in which Truman manifested his leadership qualities. He had entered the service in 1917 as a family farmer who had worked in clerical jobs that did not require the ability to motivate and direct others, but during the war, he gained leadership experience and a record of success that greatly enhanced and supported his post-war political career in Missouri.
Truman was brought up in the Presbyterian and Baptist churches,
but avoided revivals
and sometimes ridiculed revivalist preachers.
He rarely spoke about religion, which to him, primarily meant ethical behavior along traditional Protestant lines.
Most of the soldiers he commanded in the war were Catholics, and one of his close friends was the 129th Field Artillery's chaplain, Monsignor
L. Curtis Tiernan.
The two remained friends until Tiernan's death in 1960.
Developing leadership and interpersonal skills that later made him a successful politician helped Truman get along with his Catholic soldiers, as he did with soldiers of other Christian denominations and the unit's Jewish members.
After his election to the U.S. Senate, Truman was transferred to the General Assignments Group, a holding unit for less active officers, although he had not been consulted in advance.
Truman protested his reassignment, which led to his resumption of regimental command.
He remained an active reservist until the early 1940s.
Truman volunteered for active military service during World War II
, but was not accepted, partly because of age, and partly because President Franklin D. Roosevelt
desired Senators and Congressman who belonged to the military reserves to support the war effort by remaining in Congress, or by ending their active duty service and resuming their Congressional seats.
He was an inactive reservist from the early 1940s until retiring as a colonel in the then redesignated U.S. Army Reserve
on January 20, 1953.
Military awards and decorations
Harry and Bess Truman on their wedding day, June 28, 1919
After his wartime service, Truman returned to Independence, where he married Bess Wallace on June 28, 1919.
The couple had one child, Mary Margaret Truman
Shortly before the wedding, Truman and Jacobson opened a haberdashery together at 104 West 12th Street in downtown Kansas City
. After brief initial success, the store went bankrupt during the recession of 1921
Truman did not pay off the last of the debts from that venture until 1935, when he did so with the aid of banker William T. Kemper
, who worked behind the scenes to enable Truman's brother Vivian to buy Truman's $5,600 promissory note
during the asset sale of a bank that had failed in the Great Depression
The note had risen and fallen in value as it was bought and sold, interest accumulated and Truman made payments, so by the time the last bank to hold it failed, it was worth nearly $9,000.
Thanks to Kemper's efforts, Vivian Truman was able to buy it for $1,000.
Jacobson and Truman remained close friends even after their store failed, and Jacobson's advice to Truman on Zionism
later played a role in the U.S. Government's decision to recognize Israel.
With the help of the Kansas City Democraticmachine
led by Tom Pendergast
, Truman was elected in 1922 as County Court judge of Jackson County
's eastern district—Jackson County's three-judge court included judges from the western district (Kansas City), the eastern district (the county outside Kansas City), and a presiding judge elected countywide. This was an administrative rather than a judicial court, similar to county commissioners in many other jurisdictions. Truman lost his 1924 reelection campaign in a Republican wave led by President Calvin Coolidge
's landslide election
to a full term. Two years selling automobile club memberships convinced him that a public service career was safer for a family man approaching middle age, and he planned a run for presiding judge
Truman won the job in 1926 with the support of the Pendergast machine, and he was re-elected in 1930. As presiding judge, Truman helped coordinate the Ten Year Plan
, which transformed Jackson County and the Kansas City skyline with new public works projects, including an extensive series of roads and construction of a new Wight and Wight
-designed County Court building. Also in 1926, he became president of the National Old Trails Road
Association. He oversaw the dedication in the late 1920s of a series of Madonna of the Trail
monuments honoring 12 pioneer women.
In 1933, Truman was named Missouri's director for the Federal Re-Employment program (part of the Civil Works Administration
) at the request of Postmaster General James Farley
. This was payback to Pendergast for delivering the Kansas City vote to Franklin D. Roosevelt
in the 1932 presidential election
. The appointment confirmed Pendergast's control over federal patronage
jobs in Missouri and marked the zenith of his power. It also created a relationship between Truman and Roosevelt's aide Harry Hopkins
and assured Truman's avid support for the New Deal.
U.S. Senator from Missouri
Drawer from the Senate desk used by Truman
After serving as a county judge, Truman wanted to run for Governor or Congress, but Pendergast rejected these ideas. Truman then thought he might serve out his career in some well-paying county sinecure; circumstances changed when Pendergast reluctantly backed him as the machine's choice in the 1934 Democratic primary
for the U.S. Senate from Missouri
, after Pendergast's first four choices had declined to run.
In the primary, Truman defeated Congressmen John J. Cochran
and Jacob L. Milligan
with the solid support of Jackson County
, which was crucial to his candidacy. Also critical were the contacts he had made statewide in his capacity as a county official, member of the Freemasons
, military reservist, and member of the American Legion.
In the general election, Truman defeated incumbent Republican Roscoe C. Patterson
by nearly 20 percentage points in a continuing wave of pro-New Deal
Democrats elected following the Great Depression
Results of the 1934 U.S. Senate election in Missouri; Truman won the counties in blue
Truman assumed office with a reputation as "the Senator from Pendergast". He referred patronage decisions to Pendergast but maintained that he voted with his own conscience. He later defended the patronage decisions by saying that "by offering a little to the machine, [he] saved a lot".
In his first term, Truman spoke out against corporate greed and the dangers of Wall Street
speculators and other moneyed special interests attaining too much influence in national affairs.
Though he served on the high-profile Appropriations
and Interstate Commerce
Committees, he was largely ignored by President Roosevelt and had trouble getting calls returned from the White House.
During the U.S. Senate election in 1940
, United States Attorney Maurice Milligan
(former opponent Jacob Milligan's brother) and former governor Lloyd Stark
both challenged Truman in the Democratic primary. Truman was politically weakened by Pendergast's imprisonment for income tax evasion the previous year; the senator had remained loyal, having claimed that Republican judges (not the Roosevelt administration) were responsible for the boss's downfall. St. Louis
party leader Robert E. Hannegan
's support of Truman proved crucial; he later brokered the deal that put Truman on the national ticket. In the end, Stark and Milligan split the anti-Pendergast vote in the Senate Democratic primary and Truman won by a total of 8,000 votes. In the November election, Truman defeated Republican Manvel H. Davis
by 51–49 percent.
As Senator, Truman opposed both Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. One week after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union
in June 1941, he said:
If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible although I don't want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances.
In late 1940, Truman traveled to various military bases. The waste and profiteering he saw led him to use his chairmanship of the Committee on Military Affairs
Subcommittee on War Mobilization to start investigations into abuses while the nation prepared for war. A new special committee was set up under Truman to conduct a formal investigation; the Roosevelt administration
supported this plan rather than weather a more hostile probe by the House of Representatives. The main mission of the committee was to expose and fight waste and corruption in the gigantic government wartime contracts.
Truman's initiative convinced Senate leaders of the necessity for the committee, which reflected his demands for honest and efficient administration and his distrust of big business and Wall Street. Truman managed the committee "with extraordinary skill" and usually achieved consensus, generating heavy media publicity that gave him a national reputation.
Activities of the Truman Committee ranged from criticizing the "dollar-a-year men
" hired by the government, many of whom proved ineffective, to investigating a shoddily built New Jersey housing project for war workers.
The committee reportedly saved as much as $15 billion (equivalent to $220 billion in 2020),
and its activities put Truman on the cover of Time
According to the Senate's historical minutes, in leading the committee, "Truman erased his earlier public image as an errand-runner for Kansas City politicos", and "no senator ever gained greater political benefits from chairing a special investigating committee than did Missouri's Harry S. Truman."
Roosevelt's advisors knew that Roosevelt might not live out a fourth term and that his vice president would very likely become the next president. Henry Wallace
had served as Roosevelt's vice president for four years and was popular among Democratic voters, but he was viewed as too far to the left and too friendly to labor for some of Roosevelt's advisers. The President and several of his confidantes wanted to replace Wallace with someone more acceptable to Democratic Party leaders. Outgoing Democratic National Committee chairman Frank C. Walker
, incoming chairman Hannegan, party treasurer Edwin W. Pauley
, Bronx party boss Ed Flynn
, Chicago MayorEdward Joseph Kelly
, and lobbyist George E. Allen all wanted to keep Wallace off the ticket.
Roosevelt told party leaders that he would accept either Truman or Supreme Court
Justice William O. Douglas
State and city party leaders strongly preferred Truman, and Roosevelt agreed. Truman did not campaign for the vice-presidential spot, though he welcomed the attention as evidence that he had become more than the "Senator from Pendergast".
Truman's nomination was dubbed the "Second Missouri Compromise
" and was well received. The Roosevelt–Truman ticket achieved a 432–99 electoral-vote
victory in the election, defeating the Republican ticket of Governor Thomas E. Dewey
of New York and running mate Governor John Bricker
of Ohio. Truman was sworn in
as vice president on January 20, 1945.
Truman's brief vice-presidency was relatively uneventful. On April 10, 1945,
Truman cast his only tie-breaking vote
as president of the Senate, against a Robert A. Taft
amendment that would have blocked the postwar delivery of Lend-Lease Act
items contracted for during the war.
Roosevelt rarely contacted him, even to inform him of major decisions; the president and vice president met alone together only twice during their time in office.
In one of his first acts as vice president, Truman created some controversy when he attended the disgraced Pendergast's funeral. He brushed aside the criticism, saying simply, "He was always my friend and I have always been his."
He had rarely discussed world affairs or domestic politics with Roosevelt; he was uninformed about major initiatives relating to the war and the top-secret Manhattan Project
, which was about to test the world's first atomic bomb.
In an event that generated negative publicity for Truman, he was photographed with actress Lauren Bacall
sitting atop the piano at the National Press Club
as he played for soldiers.
Truman had been vice president for 82 days when President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945.
Truman, presiding over the Senate, as usual, had just adjourned the session for the day and was preparing to have a drink in House Speaker Sam Rayburn
's office when he received an urgent message to go immediately to the White House, where Eleanor Roosevelt
told him that her husband had died after a massive cerebral hemorrhage
. Truman asked her if there was anything he could do for her; she replied, "Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now!"
He was sworn in as president at 7:09 pm in the West Wing of the White House, by Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone
Truman delegated a great deal of authority to his cabinet officials, only insisting that he give the final formal approval to all decisions. After getting rid of the Roosevelt holdovers, the cabinet members were mostly old confidants. The White House was badly understaffed with no more than a dozen aides; they could barely keep up with the heavy work flow of a greatly expanded executive department. Truman acted as his own chief of staff on a daily basis, as well as his own liaison with Congress—a body he already knew very well. He was not well prepared to deal with the press, and never achieved the jovial familiarity of FDR. Filled with latent anger about all the setbacks in his career, he bitterly mistrusted the journalists. He saw them as enemies lying in wait for his next careless miscue. Truman was a very hard worker, often to the point of exhaustion, which left him testy, easily annoyed, and on the verge of appearing unpresidential or petty. In terms of major issues, he discussed them in depth with top advisors. He mastered the details of the federal budget as well as anyone. Truman was a poor speaker reading a text. However, his visible anger made him an effective stump speaker, denouncing his enemies as his supporters hollered back at him “Give Em Hell, Harry!”
Truman surrounded himself with his old friends, and appointed several to high positions that seemed well beyond their competence, including his two secretaries of the treasury, Fred Vinson
and John Snyder
. His closest friend in the White House was his military aide Harry H. Vaughan
, who knew little of military or foreign affairs and was criticized for trading access to the White House for expensive gifts.
Truman loved to spend as much time as possible playing poker, telling stories and sipping bourbon. Alonzo Hamby
... to many in the general public, gambling and bourbon swilling, however low-key, were not quite presidential. Neither was the intemperant "give 'em hell" campaign style nor the occasional profane phrase uttered in public. Poker exemplified a larger problem: the tension between his attempts at an image of leadership necessarily a cut above the ordinary and an informality that at times appeared to verge on crudeness.
Assuming office and the atomic bomb
On his first full day, Truman told reporters: "Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now. I don't know if you fellas ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me what happened yesterday, I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me."
Truman asked all the members of Roosevelt's cabinet to remain in place, and told them he was open to their advice. He emphasized a central principle of his administration: he would be the one making decisions, and they were to support him.
Although Truman was told briefly on the afternoon of April 12 that he had a new, highly destructive weapon, it was not until April 25 that Secretary of War Henry Stimson
told him the details. Truman benefited from a honeymoon period from the success in Europe and the nation celebrated V-E Day
on May 8, 1945, his 61st birthday.
We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.
— Harry Truman, writing about the atomic bomb in his diary
on July 25, 1945
Truman journeyed to Berlin for the Potsdam Conference
with Joseph Stalin
. He was there when he learned the Trinity test
—the first atomic bomb—on July 16 had been successful. He hinted to Stalin that he was about to use a new kind of weapon against the Japanese. Though this was the first time the Soviets had been officially given information about the atomic bomb, Stalin was already aware of the bomb project—having learned about it through atomic espionage
long before Truman did.
In August, the Japanese government refused surrender demands as specifically outlined in the Potsdam Declaration
. With the invasion of Japan
imminent, Truman approved the schedule for dropping the two available bombs. Truman always said attacking Japan with atomic bombs saved many lives on both sides; military estimates for the invasion of Japan were that it could take a year and result in 250,000 to 500,000 U.S. casualties. Hiroshima was bombed on August 6, and Nagasaki three days later, leaving 105,000 dead.
The Soviet Union declared war on Japan
on August 9 and invaded Manchuria
. Japan agreed to surrender
the following day.
Truman announces Japan's surrender, August 14, 1945
of Truman's decision argue that, given the tenacious Japanese defense of the outlying islands, the bombings saved hundreds of thousands of lives of prisoners, civilians, and combatants on both sides that would have been lost in an invasion of Japan. Critics have argued that the use of nuclear weapons was unnecessary, given that conventional attacks or a demonstrative bombing of an uninhabited area would have forced Japan's surrender and therefore assert that the attack constituted a crime of war.
Truman defended his decision to use atomic bombs during the war:
As President of the United States, I had the fateful responsibility of deciding whether or not to use this weapon for the first time. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. But the President cannot duck hard problems—he cannot pass the buck. I made the decision after discussions with the ablest men in our Government, and after long and prayerful consideration. I decided that the bomb should be used in order to end the war quickly and save countless lives—Japanese as well as American.
Truman continued to strongly defend himself in his memoirs in 1955–1956, stating many lives could have been lost had the United States invaded mainland Japan without the atomic bombs. In 1963, he stood by his decision, telling a journalist "it was done to save 125,000 youngsters on the U.S. side and 125,000 on the Japanese side from getting killed and that is what it did. It probably also saved a half million youngsters on both sides from being maimed for life."
Strikes and economic upheaval
The end of World War II was followed by an uneasy transition from war to a peacetime economy. The costs of the war effort had been enormous, and Truman was intent on diminishing military services as quickly as possible to curtail the government's military expenditures. The effect of demobilization on the economy was unknown, proposals were met with skepticism and resistance, and fears existed that the nation would slide back into depression. In Roosevelt's final years, Congress began to reassert legislative power and Truman faced a congressional body where Republicans and conservative southern Democrats formed a powerful voting bloc.
Dormant stressors during the war emerged as polarizing issues under Truman's administration. Strikes and labor-management conflicts destabilized major industries while severe housing and consumer good shortages added to public stress over inflation which peaked at six percent in a single month.
Truman's response to the widespread dissatisfaction and protest of U.S. citizens was generally seen as ineffective.
The cost of consumer goods increased rapidly due to the removal of depression-era limits on the prices of everyday items while producers of the remaining price-controlled commodities struggled due to the artificially low prices of their goods. In 1945 and 1946, farmers refused to sell grain for months even though it was desperately needed in the United States and to stave off starvation in Europe.
Similarly, industrial laborers sought wage increases. In January 1946 a steel strike involving 800,000 laborers became the largest in the nation's history. It was followed by a coal strike in April and a rail strike in May; however, public opinion on labor action was mixed with one poll reporting a majority of the public in favor of a ban on strikes by public service workers and a year's moratorium on labor actions.
Truman with Greek-American sponge divers in Florida, 1947
When a national rail strike threatened in May 1946, Truman seized the railroads in an attempt to contain the issue, but two key railway unions struck anyway. The entire national railroad system was shut down, immobilizing 24,000 freight trains and 175,000 passenger trains a day.
For two days, public anger mounted and Truman himself drafted an irate message to Congress that called on veterans to form a lynch mob and destroy the union leaders:
Every single one of the strikers and their demagogue leaders have been living in luxury ... Now I want you who are my comrades in arms ... to come with me and eliminate the Lewises, the Whitneys, the Johnstons, the Communist Bridges [all important union officials] and the Russian Senators and Representatives ... Let's put transportation and production back to work, hang a few traitors and make our own country safe for democracy.
His staff was stunned, but top aide Clark Clifford
revised the original draft and Truman delivered a toned-down version of the speech to Congress. Truman called for a new law, where any railroad strikers would be drafted into the army. As he concluded his congressional address, he received a message that the strike had been settled on presidential terms; nevertheless, a few hours later, the House voted to draft the strikers. Taft killed the bill in the Senate.
After the settlement of the railway strike, labor action continued as an undercurrent of Truman's presidency. The president's approval rating dropped from 82 percent in the polls in January 1946 to 52 percent by June.
This dissatisfaction with the Truman administration's policies led to large Democratic losses in the 1946 midterm elections, and Republicans took control of Congress for the first time since 1930. The 80th Congress
included Republican freshmen who would become prominent in U.S. politics in the years to come including Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy
and California Congressman Richard Nixon
. When Truman dropped to 32 percent in the polls, Democratic Arkansas Senator William Fulbright
suggested that Truman resign; the president said he did not care what Senator "Halfbright" said.
Truman cooperated closely with the Republican leaders on foreign policy but fought them bitterly on domestic issues. The power of the labor unions was significantly curtailed by the Taft–Hartley Act
which was enacted over Truman's veto
. Truman twice vetoed bills to lower income tax rates in 1947. Although the initial vetoes were sustained, Congress overrode his veto of a tax cut bill in 1948. In one notable instance of bipartisanship, Congress passed the Presidential Succession Act of 1947
, which replaced the secretary of state with the Speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate as successor to the president after the vice president.
As he readied for the 1948 election, Truman made clear his identity as a Democrat in the New Deal
tradition, advocating for national health insurance
and repeal of the Taft–Hartley Act. He broke with the New Deal by initiating an aggressive civil rights program which he termed a moral priority. His economic and social vision constituted a broad legislative agenda that came to be called the "Fair Deal
Truman's proposals were not well received by Congress, even with renewed Democratic majorities in Congress after 1948. The Solid South rejected civil rights as those states still enforced segregation. Only one of the major Fair Deal bills, the Housing Act of 1949
, was ever enacted.
Many of the New Deal programs that persisted during Truman's presidency have since received minor improvements and extensions.
Marshall Plan, Cold War, and China
Truman's press secretary was his old friend Charles Griffith Ross
. He had great integrity but, says Alonzo L. Hamby, as a senior White House aide he was, "A better newsman than news handler, he never established a policy of coordinating news releases throughout the executive branch, frequently bumbled details, never developed ... a strategy for marketing the president's image and failed to establish a strong press office."
As a Wilsonian
internationalist, Truman supported Roosevelt's policy in favor of the creation of the United Nations and included Eleanor Roosevelt on the delegation to the first UN General Assembly
With the Soviet Union expanding its sphere of influence through Eastern Europe, Truman and his foreign policy advisors took a hard line against the USSR. In this, he matched U.S. public opinion which quickly came to believe the Soviets were intent upon world domination.
Although he had little personal expertise on foreign matters, Truman listened closely to his top advisors, especially George Marshall
and Dean Acheson
. The Republicans controlled Congress in 1947–1948, so he worked with their leaders, especially Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg
, chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee.
He won bipartisan support for both the Truman Doctrine
, which formalized a policy of Soviet containment, and the Marshall Plan
, which aimed to help rebuild postwar Europe.
Truman did not know what to do about China, where the Nationalists
were fighting a large-scale civil war
. The Nationalists had been major wartime allies and had large-scale popular support in the United States, along with a powerful lobby. General George Marshall spent most of 1946 in China
trying to negotiate a compromise, but failed. He convinced Truman the Nationalists would never win on their own and a very large-scale U.S. intervention to stop the Communists would significantly weaken U.S. opposition to the Soviets in Europe. By 1949, the Communists under Mao Zedong
had won the civil war, the United States had a new enemy in Asia, and Truman came under fire from conservatives for "losing" China
On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blocked access to the three Western-held sectors
of Berlin. The Allies had not negotiated a deal to guarantee supply of the sectors deep within the Soviet-occupied zone. The commander of the U.S. occupation zone in Germany, General Lucius D. Clay
, proposed sending a large armored column across the Soviet zone to West Berlin
with instructions to defend itself if it were stopped or attacked. Truman believed this would entail an unacceptable risk of war. He approved Ernest Bevin
's plan to supply the blockaded city by air.
On June 25, the Allies initiated the Berlin Airlift
, a campaign to deliver food, coal and other supplies using military aircraft on a massive scale. Nothing like it had ever been attempted before, and no single nation had the capability, either logistically or materially, to accomplish it. The airlift worked; ground access was again granted on May 11, 1949. Nevertheless, the airlift continued for several months after that. The Berlin Airlift was one of Truman's great foreign policy successes; it significantly aided his election campaign in 1948.
Recognition of Israel
Truman had long taken an interest in the history of the Middle East and was sympathetic to Jews who sought to re-establish their ancient homeland in Mandatory Palestine
. As a senator, he announced support for Zionism
; in 1943 he called for a homeland for those Jews who survived the Nazi regime. However, State Department officials were reluctant to offend the Arabs, who were opposed to the establishment of a Jewish state in the large region long populated and dominated culturally by Arabs. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal
warned Truman of the importance of Saudi Arabian
oil in another war; Truman replied he would decide his policy on the basis of justice, not oil.
U.S. diplomats with experience in the region were opposed, but Truman told them he had few Arabs among his constituents.
Palestine was secondary to the goal of protecting the "Northern Tier" of Greece, Turkey, and Iran from communism, as promised by the Truman Doctrine.
Weary of both the convoluted politics of the Middle East and pressure by Jewish leaders, Truman was undecided on his policy and skeptical about how the Jewish "underdogs" would handle power.
He later cited as decisive in his recognition of the Jewish state the advice of his former business partner, Eddie Jacobson, a non-religious Jew whom Truman absolutely trusted.
Truman decided to recognize Israel over the objections of Secretary of State George Marshall
, who feared it would hurt relations with the populous Arab states. Marshall believed the paramount threat to the United States was the Soviet Union and feared Arab oil would be lost to the United States in the event of war; he warned Truman the United States was "playing with fire with nothing to put it out".
Truman recognized the State of Israel
on May 14, 1948, eleven minutes after it declared itself a nation
Of his decision to recognize the Israeli state, Truman wrote in his memoirs
: "Hitler had been murdering Jews right and left. I saw it, and I dream about it even to this day. The Jews needed some place where they could go. It is my attitude that the American government couldn't stand idly by while the victims [of] Hitler's madness are not allowed to build new lives."
Dewey during a campaign tour in New York
The 1948 presidential election
is remembered for Truman's stunning come-from-behind victory.
In the spring of 1948, Truman's public approval rating stood at 36 percent,
and the president was nearly universally regarded as incapable of winning the general election. The "New Deal" operatives within the party—including FDR's son, James Roosevelt
—tried to swing the Democratic nomination to General Dwight D. Eisenhower
, a highly popular figure whose political views and party affiliation were totally unknown. Eisenhower emphatically refused to accept, and Truman outflanked opponents to his own nomination.
At the 1948 Democratic National Convention
, Truman attempted to unify the party with a vague civil rights plank in the party platform. His intention was to assuage the internal conflicts between the northern and southern wings of his party. Events overtook his efforts. A sharp address given by Mayor Hubert Humphrey
—as well as the local political interests of a number of urban bosses—convinced the convention to adopt a stronger civil rights plank, which Truman approved wholeheartedly. All of Alabama's delegates, and a portion of Mississippi's, walked out of the convention in protest.
Unfazed, Truman delivered an aggressive acceptance speech attacking the 80th Congress, which Truman called the "Do Nothing Congress,"
and promising to win the election and "make these Republicans like it."
Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home—but not for housing. They are strong for labor—but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage—the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all—but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine—for people who can afford them ... They think American standard of living is a fine thing—so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.
Within two weeks of the 1948 convention Truman issued Executive Order 9981
, racially integrating
the U.S. Armed Services
and Executive Order 9980 to integrate federal agencies. Truman took a considerable political risk in backing civil rights, and many seasoned Democrats were concerned the loss of Dixiecrat
support might destroy the Democratic Party. South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond
, a segregationist, declared his candidacy for the presidency on a Dixiecrat ticket and led a full-scale revolt of Southern "states' rights
" proponents. This rebellion on the right was matched by one on the left, led by Wallace on the Progressive Party
ticket. Immediately after its first post-FDR convention, the Democratic Party seemed to be disintegrating. Victory in November seemed unlikely as the party was not simply split but divided three ways.
For his running mate, Truman accepted Kentucky Senator Alben W. Barkley
, though he really wanted Justice William O. Douglas
, who turned down the nomination.
Truman's political advisors described the political scene as "one unholy, confusing cacophony." They told Truman to speak directly to the people, in a personal way.
Campaign manager William J. Bray said Truman took this advice, and spoke personally and passionately, sometimes even setting aside his notes to talk to Americans "of everything that is in my heart and soul."
The campaign was a 21,928-mile (35,290 km) presidential odyssey.
In a personal appeal to the nation, Truman crisscrossed the United States by train; his "whistle stop
" speeches from the rear platform of the observation car, Ferdinand Magellan,
came to represent his campaign. His combative appearances captured the popular imagination and drew huge crowds. Six stops in Michigan
drew a combined half-million people;
a full million turned out for a New York City ticker-tape parade.
1948 electoral vote results
Truman was so widely expected to lose the 1948 election that the Chicago Tribune
had printed papers with this erroneous headline when few returns were in.
The large, mostly spontaneous gatherings at Truman's whistle-stop events were an important sign of a change in momentum in the campaign, but this shift went virtually unnoticed by the national press corps. It continued reporting Republican Thomas Dewey
's apparent impending victory as a certainty. One reason for the press's inaccurate projection was that polls were conducted primarily by telephone, but many people, including much of Truman's populist base, did not yet own a telephone.
This skewed the data to indicate a stronger support base for Dewey than existed. An unintended and undetected projection error may have contributed to the perception of Truman's bleak chances. The three major polling organizations stopped polling well before the November 2 election date—Roper
in September, and Crossley and Gallup
in October—thus failing to measure the period when Truman appears to have surged past Dewey.
In the end, Truman held his progressive Midwestern base, won most of the Southern states despite the civil rights plank, and squeaked through with narrow victories in a few critical states, notably Ohio, California, and Illinois. The final tally showed the president had secured 303 electoral votes, Dewey 189, and Thurmond only 39. Henry Wallace got none. The defining image of the campaign came after Election Day, when an ecstatic Truman held aloft the erroneous front page of the Chicago Tribune
with a huge headline proclaiming "Dewey Defeats Truman
Full elected term (1949–1953)
Hydrogen bomb decision
The Soviet Union's atomic bomb project
progressed much faster than had been expected,
and they detonated their first bomb
on August 29, 1949. Over the next several months there was an intense debate that split the U.S. government, military, and scientific communities regarding whether to proceed with the development of the far more powerful hydrogen bomb
The debate touched on matters from technical feasibility to strategic value to the morality of creating a massively destructive weapon.
On January 31, 1950, Truman made the decision to go forward on the grounds that if the Soviets could make an H-bomb, the United States must do so as well and stay ahead in the nuclear arms race.
The development achieved fruition with the first U.S. H-bomb test
on October 31, 1952, which was officially announced by Truman on January 7, 1953.
President Truman signing a proclamation declaring a national emergency and authorizing U.S. entry into the Korean War
On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army
under Kim Il-sung
invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War
. In the early weeks of the war, the North Koreans easily pushed back their southern counterparts.
Truman called for a naval blockade of Korea, only to learn that due to budget cutbacks, the U.S. Navy could not enforce such a measure.
Truman promptly urged the United Nations to intervene; it did, authorizing troops under the UN flag led by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur
. Truman decided he did not need formal authorization from Congress, believing that most legislators supported his position; this would come back to haunt him later when the stalemated conflict was dubbed "Mr. Truman's War" by legislators.
However, on July 3, 1950, Truman did give Senate Majority Leader Scott W. Lucas
a draft resolution titled "Joint Resolution Expressing Approval of the Action Taken in Korea". Lucas stated Congress supported the use of force, the formal resolution would pass but was unnecessary, and the consensus in Congress was to acquiesce. Truman responded he did not want "to appear to be trying to get around Congress and use extra-Constitutional powers," and added that it was "up to Congress whether such a resolution should be introduced."
By August 1950, U.S. troops pouring into South Korea under UN auspices were able to stabilize the situation.
Responding to criticism over readiness, Truman fired his secretary of defense, Louis A. Johnson
, replacing him with the retired General Marshall. With UN approval, Truman decided on a "rollback" policy—conquest of North Korea.
UN forces led by General Douglas MacArthur
led the counterattack, scoring a stunning surprise victory with an amphibious landing at the Battle of Inchon
that nearly trapped the invaders. UN forces marched north, toward the Yalu River
boundary with China, with the goal of reuniting Korea under UN auspices.
However, China surprised the UN forces with a large-scale invasion in November. The UN forces were forced back to below the 38th parallel
, then recovered.
By early 1951 the war became a fierce stalemate at about the 38th parallel where it had begun. Truman rejected MacArthur's request to attack Chinese supply bases north of the Yalu, but MacArthur promoted his plan to Republican House leader Joseph Martin
, who leaked it to the press. Truman was gravely concerned further escalation of the war might lead to open conflict with the Soviet Union, which was already supplying weapons and providing warplanes (with Korean markings and Soviet aircrew). Therefore, on April 11, 1951, Truman fired MacArthur from his commands.
I fired him [MacArthur] because he wouldn't respect the authority of the President ... I didn't fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.
—Truman to biographer Merle Miller
, 1972, posthumously quoted in Time
The dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur
was among the least politically popular decisions in presidential history. Truman's approval ratings plummeted, and he faced calls for his impeachment
from, among others, Senator Robert A. Taft
Fierce criticism from virtually all quarters accused Truman of refusing to shoulder the blame for a war gone sour and blaming his generals instead. Others, including Eleanor Roosevelt, supported and applauded Truman's decision. MacArthur meanwhile returned to the United States to a hero's welcome, and addressed a joint session of Congress, a speech the president called "a bunch of damn bullshit."
Truman and his generals considered the use of nuclear weapons against the Chinese army, but ultimately chose not to escalate the war to a nuclear level.
The war remained a frustrating stalemate for two years, with over 30,000 Americans killed, until an armistice ended the fighting in 1953.
In February 1952, Truman's approval mark stood at 22 percent according to Gallup polls
, which is the all-time lowest approval mark for a sitting U.S. president, though it was matched by Richard Nixon in 1974.
Truman and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
during Nehru's visit to the United States, October 1949
The escalation of the Cold War was highlighted by Truman's approval of NSC 68
, a secret statement of foreign policy. It called for tripling the defense budget, and the globalization and militarization of containment policy whereby the United States and its NATO allies would respond militarily to actual Soviet expansion. The document was drafted by Paul Nitze
, who consulted State and Defense officials and was formally approved by President Truman as the official national strategy after the war began in Korea. It called for partial mobilization of the U.S. economy to build armaments faster than the Soviets. The plan called for strengthening Europe, weakening the Soviet Union, and building up the United States both militarily and economically.
Truman was a strong supporter of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO), which established a formal peacetime military alliance with Canada and democratic European nations not under Soviet control following World War II. The treaty establishing it was widely popular and easily passed the Senate in 1949; Truman appointed General Eisenhower as commander. NATO's goals were to contain Soviet expansion in Europe and to send a clear message to communist leaders that the world's democracies were willing and able to build new security structures in support of democratic ideals. The United States, Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, and Canada were the original treaty signatories. The alliance resulted in the Soviets establishing a similar alliance, called the Warsaw Pact
General Marshall was Truman's principal adviser on foreign policy matters, influencing such decisions as the U.S. choice against offering direct military aid to Chiang Kai-shek
and his nationalist Chinese forces in the Chinese Civil War
against their communist opponents. Marshall's opinion was contrary to the counsel of almost all of Truman's other advisers—Marshall thought propping up Chiang's forces would drain U.S. resources necessary for Europe to deter the Soviets.
When the communists took control of the mainland, establishing the People's Republic of China
and driving the nationalists to Taiwan
, Truman would have been willing to maintain some relationship between the United States and the new government but Mao was unwilling.
Truman announced on January 5, 1950, that the United States would not engage in any dispute involving the Taiwan Strait, and that he would not intervene in the event of an attack by the PRC.
Truman usually worked well with his top staff - the exceptions were Israel in 1948 and Spain in 1945–1950. Truman was a very strong opponent of Francisco Franco
, the right-wing dictator of Spain. He withdrew the American ambassador (but diplomatic relations were not formally broken), kept Spain out of the UN, and rejected any Marshall Plan financial aid to Spain. However, as the Cold War escalated, support for Spain was strong in Congress, the Pentagon, the business community and other influential elements especially Catholics and cotton growers.
Liberal opposition to Spain had faded after the Wallace element broke with the Democratic Party in 1948; the CIO became passive on the issue. As Secretary of State Acheson increased his pressure on Truman, the president, stood alone in his administration as his own top appointees wanted to normalize relations. When China entered the Korean War and pushed American forces back, the argument for allies became irresistible. Admitting he was "overruled and worn down," Truman relented and sent an ambassador and made loans available.
Soviet espionage and McCarthyism
In August 1948, Whittaker Chambers
, a former spy for the Soviets and a senior editor at Time
magazine, testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee
(HUAC). He said an underground communist network had worked inside the U.S. government during the 1930s, of which Chambers had been a member, along with Alger Hiss
, until recently a senior State Department official. Chambers did not allege any spying during the Truman presidency. Although Hiss denied the allegations, he was convicted in January 1950 for perjury for denials under oath.
The Soviet Union's success in exploding an atomic weapon in 1949 and the fall of the nationalist Chinese the same year led many Americans to conclude subversion by Soviet spies was responsible and to demand that communists be rooted out from the government and other places of influence.
Hoping to contain these fears, Truman began a "loyalty program" with Executive Order 9835
However, Truman got himself into deeper trouble when he called the Hiss trial a "red herring".
Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy accused the State Department of harboring communists and rode the controversy to political fame,
leading to the Second Red Scare
also known as McCarthyism
. McCarthy's stifling accusations made it difficult to speak out against him. This led President Harry Truman to call McCarthy "the greatest asset the Kremlin
has" by "torpedo[ing] the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States."
Charges that Soviet agents had infiltrated the government were believed by 78 percent of the people in 1946 and became a major campaign issue for Eisenhower in 1952.
Truman was reluctant to take a more radical stance, because he felt it could threaten civil liberties and add to a potential hysteria. At the same time, he felt political pressure to indicate a strong national security.
It is unclear to what extent President Truman was briefed of the Venona intercepts
, which discovered widespread evidence of Soviet espionage on the atom bomb project and afterward.
Truman continued his own loyalty program for some time while believing the issue of communist espionage was overstated.
In 1949, Truman described American communist leaders, whom his administration was prosecuting
, as "traitors",
but in 1950 he vetoed the McCarran Internal Security Act
. It was passed over his veto.
Truman would later state in private conversations with friends that his creation of a loyalty program had been a "terrible" mistake.
Blair House and assassination attempt
View of the interior shell of the White House during renovation in 1950
In 1948, Truman ordered an addition to the exterior of the White House
: a second-floor balcony in the south portico, which came to be known as the Truman Balcony
. The addition was unpopular. Some said it spoiled the appearance of the south facade, but it gave the First Family more living space.
The Truman family moved into nearby Blair House
during the renovations. As the newer West Wing
, including the Oval Office
, remained open, Truman walked to and from his work across the street each morning and afternoon.
On November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican
nationalists Griselio Torresola
and Oscar Collazo
attempted to assassinate Truman at Blair House. On the street outside the residence, Torresola mortally wounded a White House policeman, Leslie Coffelt
. Before he died, the officer shot and killed Torresola. Collazo was wounded and stopped before he entered the house. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in 1952. Truman commuted his sentence to life in prison. To try to settle the question of Puerto Rican independence, Truman allowed a plebiscite in Puerto Rico in 1952
to determine the status of its relationship to the United States. Nearly 82 percent of the people voted in favor of a new constitution for the Estado Libre Asociado,
a continued 'associated free state.'
Steel and coal strikes
In response to a labor/management impasse arising from bitter disagreements over wage and price controls, Truman instructed his Secretary of Commerce
, Charles W. Sawyer
, to take control of a number of the nation's steel mills in April 1952. Truman cited his authority as Commander in Chief and the need to maintain an uninterrupted supply of steel for munitions for the war in Korea. The Supreme Court found Truman's actions unconstitutional, however, and reversed the order in a major separation-of-powers
decision, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer
(1952). The 6–3 decision, which held that Truman's assertion of authority was too vague and was not rooted in any legislative action by Congress, was delivered by a Court composed entirely of Justices appointed by either Truman or Roosevelt. The high court's reversal of Truman's order was one of the notable defeats of his presidency.
Scandals and controversies
Truman in an official portrait
In 1950, the Senate, led by Estes Kefauver
, investigated numerous charges of corruption among senior administration officials, some of whom received fur coats and deep freezers in exchange for favors. A large number of employees of the Internal Revenue Bureau
(today the IRS) were accepting bribes; 166 employees either resigned or were fired in 1950,
with many soon facing indictment. When Attorney General J. Howard McGrath
fired the special prosecutor in early 1952 for being too zealous, Truman fired McGrath.
Truman submitted a reorganization plan to reform the IRB; Congress passed it, but corruption was a major issue in the 1952 presidential election.
On December 6, 1950, Washington Post
music critic Paul Hume
wrote a critical review of a concert by the president's daughter Margaret Truman:
Miss Truman is a unique American phenomenon with a pleasant voice of little size and fair quality ... [she] cannot sing very well ... is flat a good deal of the time—more last night than at any time we have heard her in past years ... has not improved in the years we have heard her ... [and] still cannot sing with anything approaching professional finish.
Truman wrote a scathing response:
I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come to the conclusion that you are an 'eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.' It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you're off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work. Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below! Pegler
, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you'll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.
Truman was criticized by many for the letter. However, he pointed out that he wrote it as a loving father and not as the president.
In 1951, William M. Boyle
, Truman's longtime friend and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was forced to resign after being charged with financial corruption.
A 1947 report by the Truman administration titled To Secure These Rights
presented a detailed ten-point agenda of civil rights reforms. Speaking about this report, international developments have to be taken into account, for with the UN Charter
being passed in 1945, the question of whether international human rights
law could be applicable also on an inner-land basis became crucial in the United States. Though the report acknowledged such a path was not free from controversy in the 1940s United States, it nevertheless raised the possibility for the UN-Charter to be used as a legal tool to combat racial discrimination in the United States.
In February 1948, the president submitted a civil rights agenda to Congress that proposed creating several federal offices devoted to issues such as voting rights
and fair employment
This provoked a storm of criticism from southern Democrats in the runup to the national nominating convention, but Truman refused to compromise, saying: "My forebears were Confederates ... but my very stomach turned over when I had learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks in Mississippi and beaten."
Tales of the abuse, violence, and persecution suffered by many African-American veterans upon their return from World War II infuriated Truman and were major factors in his decision to issue Executive Order 9981
, in July 1948, requiring equal opportunity in the armed forces.
In the early 1950s after several years of planning, recommendations and revisions between Truman, the Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity
and the various branches of the military, the services became racially integrated.
Executive Order 9980, also in 1948, made it illegal to discriminate against persons applying for civil service positions based on race. A third, in 1951, established the Committee on Government Contract Compliance
(CGCC). This committee ensured defense contractors did not discriminate because of race.
In 1950 he vetoed the McCarran Internal Security Act
. It was passed over his veto.
Administration and cabinet
Truman made five international trips during his presidency.
In 1951, the United States ratified the 22nd Amendment
, making a president ineligible for election to a third term or for election to a second full term after serving more than two remaining years of a term of a previously elected president. The latter clause did not apply to Truman's situation in 1952 because of a grandfather clause
excluding the amendment's application to the incumbent president.
President Truman conferring with labor leader Walter Reuther
about economic policy in the Oval Office, 1952
Therefore, he seriously considered running for another term in 1952 and left his name on the ballot in the New Hampshire primary. However all his close advisors, pointing to his age, his failing abilities, and his poor showing in the polls, talked him out of it.
At the time of the 1952 New Hampshire primary, no candidate had won Truman's backing. His first choice, Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson
, had declined to run; Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson
had also turned Truman down, Vice President Barkley was considered too old,
and Truman distrusted and disliked Senator Kefauver, who had made a name for himself by his investigations of the Truman administration scandals.
Truman had hoped to recruit General Eisenhower
as a Democratic candidate but found him more interested in seeking the Republican nomination. Accordingly, Truman let his name be entered in the New Hampshire primary
by supporters. The highly unpopular Truman was handily defeated by Kefauver; 18 days later the president formally announced he would not seek a second full term. Truman was eventually able to persuade Stevenson to run, and the governor gained the nomination at the 1952 Democratic National Convention
Truman's speech on leaving office, and returning home to Independence, Missouri. (January 15, 1953)
Eisenhower gained the Republican nomination, with Senator Nixon as his running mate, and campaigned against what he denounced as Truman's failures: "Korea, communism and corruption". He pledged to clean up the "mess in Washington," and promised to "go to Korea."
Eisenhower defeated Stevenson decisively in the general election
, ending 20 years of Democratic presidents. While Truman and Eisenhower had previously been on good terms, Truman felt annoyed Eisenhower did not denounce Joseph McCarthy during the campaign.
Similarly, Eisenhower was outraged when Truman accused the former general of disregarding "sinister forces ... Anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, and anti-foreignism" within the Republican Party.
Upon leaving the presidency, Truman returned to Independence, Missouri, to live at the Wallace home
he and Bess had shared for years with her mother.
He taught occasional courses at universities, including Yale
, where he was a Chubb Fellow
visiting lecturer in 1958.
In 1962, Truman was a visiting lecturer at Canisius College
As a former president, Truman decided that he did not wish to be on any corporate payroll, believing that taking advantage of such financial opportunities would diminish the integrity of the nation's highest office. He also turned down numerous offers for commercial endorsements. Since his earlier business ventures had proved unsuccessful, he had no personal savings.
As a result, he faced financial challenges. Once Truman left the White House, his only income was his old army pension: $112.56 per month (equivalent to $1,089 in 2020).
Former members of Congress and the federal courts received a federal retirement package; President Truman himself ensured that former servants of the executive branch of government received similar support. In 1953, however, there was no such benefit package for former presidents, and he received no pension for his Senate service.
Truman had taken out a personal loan from a Washington bank shortly before leaving office.
He then found a potentially lucrative book deal for his memoirs. The writing was a struggle for Truman and he went through a dozen collaborators during the project,
not all of whom served him well,
but he remained heavily involved in the end result.
For the memoirs, Truman received a flat payment of $670,000, and had to pay two-thirds of that in tax; he calculated he got $37,000 after he paid his assistants.
However, the memoirs were a commercial and critical success.
They were published in two volumes: Memoirs by Harry S. Truman: Year of Decisions
(1955) and Memoirs by Harry S. Truman: Years of Trial and Hope
The former president told House Majority Leader John McCormack
in 1957, "Had it not been for the fact that I was able to sell some property that my brother, sister, and I inherited from our mother, I would practically be on relief, but with the sale of that property I am not financially embarrassed."
The following year, Congress passed the Former Presidents Act
, offering a $25,000 yearly pension to each former president, and it is likely that Truman's financial status played a role in the law's enactment.
The only other living former president at the time, Herbert Hoover
, also took the pension, even though he did not need the money; reportedly, he did so to avoid embarrassing Truman.
Truman's predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had organized his own presidential library
, but legislation to enable future presidents to do something similar had not been enacted. Truman worked to garner private donations to build a presidential library, which he donated to the federal government to maintain and operate—a practice adopted by his successors.
He testified before Congress to have money appropriated to have presidential papers copied and organized, and was proud of the bill's passage in 1957. Max Skidmore, in his book on the life of former presidents, wrote that Truman was a well-read man, especially in history. Skidmore added that the presidential papers legislation and the founding of his library "was the culmination of his interest in history. Together they constitute an enormous contribution to the United States—one of the greatest of any former president."
Truman supported Adlai Stevenson's second bid for the White House in 1956, although he had initially favored Democratic Governor W. Averell Harriman
of New York.
He continued to campaign for Democratic senatorial candidates for many years.
In 1960 Truman gave a public statement announcing he would not attend the Democratic Convention
that year, citing concerns about the way that the supporters of John F. Kennedy
had gained control of the nominating process, and called on Kennedy to forgo the nomination for that year.
Kennedy responded with a press conference where he bluntly rebuffed Truman's advice.
Upon turning 80 in 1964, Truman was feted in Washington, and addressed the Senate, availing himself of a new rule that allowed former presidents to be granted privilege of the floor
Critique of the CIA
In late 1963, when Lyndon B. Johnson had just become president, Truman wrote an Op-ed
in the Washington Post
calling for the responsibilities of the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) to be scaled back significantly: "I never had any thought when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations."
"For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas."
He called for scrapping paramilitary actions
, such as the Bay of Pigs Invasion
, and interventions
into the internal politics of other countries. The CIA had shifted from defending freedom to destroying it, Truman suggested.
Wreath by Truman's casket, December 27, 1972
Bess Truman opted for a simple private service at the library rather than a state funeral in Washington. A week after the funeral, foreign dignitaries and Washington officials attended a memorial service at Washington National Cathedral
Tributes and legacy
Biographer Robert Donovan has tried to capture Truman's personality:
Vigorous, hard-working, simple, he had grown up close to the soil of the Midwest and understood the struggles of the people on the farms and in the small towns. ... After 10 years in the Senate, he had risen above the Pendergast organization. Still, he had
come from a world of two-bit politicians, and its aura was one that he never was able to shed entirely. And he did
retain certain characteristics one often sees in machine-bred politicians: intense partisanship, stubborn loyalty, a certain insensitivity about the transgressions of political associates, and a disinclination for the companionship of intellectuals and artists.
Truman poses in 1959 at the recreation of the Truman Oval Office at his presidential library, with the famous "The Buck Stops Here
" sign on his desk. (The reverse of the sign says, "I'm From Missouri".)
Attendees to meetings where Truman would have to make a major decision would sometimes see the president looking at the sign.
Citing continuing divisions within the Democratic Party, the ongoing Cold War, and the boom and bust
cycle, journalist Samuel Lubell in 1952 stated: "After seven years of Truman's hectic, even furious, activity the nation seemed to be about on the same general spot as when he first came to office ... Nowhere in the whole Truman record can one point to a single, decisive break-through ... All his skills and energies—and he was among our hardest-working Presidents—were directed to standing still."
When he left office in 1953, Truman was one of the most unpopular chief executives in history. His job approval rating of 22% in the Gallup Poll of February 1952 was lower than Richard Nixon's 24% in August 1974, the month Nixon resigned, but matched by Nixon's all-time low in January 1974.
U.S. public feeling towards Truman grew steadily warmer with the passing years; as early as 1962, a poll of 75 historians conducted by Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr.
ranked Truman among the "near great" presidents. The period following his death consolidated a partial rehabilitation of his legacy among both historians and members of the public.
Truman died when the nation was consumed with crises in Vietnam
, and his death brought a new wave of attention to his political career.
In the early and mid-1970s, Truman captured the popular imagination much as he had in 1948, this time emerging as a kind of political folk hero
, a president who was thought to exemplify integrity and accountability which many observers felt was lacking in the Nixon White House
. This public reassessment of Truman was aided by the popularity of a book of reminiscences Truman had recounted to journalist Merle Miller
beginning in 1961, with the agreement that they would not be published until after Truman's death.
Truman has had his latter-day critics as well. After a review of information available to Truman about the presence of espionage activities in the U.S. government, Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
concluded in 1997 that Truman was "almost wilfully obtuse" concerning the danger of communism in the United States
In 2010, historian Alonzo Hamby wrote that "Harry Truman remains a controversial president."
Since leaving office, Truman has fared well in polls ranking the presidents
. He has never been listed lower than ninth and was ranked fifth in a C-SPAN
poll in 2009.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union
in 1991 caused Truman advocates to claim vindication for his decisions in the postwar period. According to Truman biographer Robert Dallek
, "His contribution to victory in the cold war without a devastating nuclear conflict elevated him to the stature of a great or near-great president."
The 1992 publication of David McCullough
's favorable biography of Truman further cemented the view of Truman as a highly regarded chief executive.
Historian Donald R. McCoy wrote in 1984:
Harry Truman himself gave a strong and far-from-incorrect impression of being a tough, concerned and direct leader. He was occasionally vulgar, often partisan, and usually nationalistic ... On his own terms, Truman can be seen as having prevented the coming of a third world war
and having preserved from Communist oppression much of what he called the free world. Yet clearly he largely failed to achieve his Wilsonian
aim of securing perpetual peace, making the world safe for democracy, and advancing opportunities for individual development internationally.
Sites and honors
Stamp issued in 1973
, following Truman's death. Truman has been honored on five U.S. postage stamps, issued between 1973 and 1999.
In 1953, Truman received the Solomon Bublick Award
of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
. In 1956, Truman traveled to Europe with his wife. In England, he met with Churchill and received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law
degree from Oxford University. Across Britain he was hailed; London's Daily Telegraph
characterized Truman as the "Living and kicking symbol of everything that everybody likes best about the United States."
In 1959, he was given a 50-year award by the Masons
, recognizing his longstanding involvement: he was initiated on February 9, 1909, into the Belton Masonic
Lodge in Missouri. In 1911, he helped establish the Grandview Lodge, and he served as its first Worshipful Master. In September 1940, during his Senate re-election campaign, Truman was elected Grand Master
of the Missouri Grand Lodge
of Freemasonry; Truman said later that the Masonic election assured his victory in the general election. In 1945, he was made a 33° Sovereign Grand Inspector General and an Honorary Member of the supreme council at the Supreme Council A.A.S.R. Southern Jurisdiction Headquarters in Washington D.C.
He was also a member of the Shriners
and the Royal Order of Jesters
, two affiliated bodies
Truman was also an honorary member of The Society of the Cincinnati
a member of Sons of the American Revolution
and the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Two of his relatives were Confederate
In 1975, the Truman Scholarship
was created as a federal program to honor U.S. college students who exemplified dedication to public service and leadership in public policy.
In 2004, the President Harry S. Truman Fellowship in National Security Science and Engineering was created as a distinguished postdoctoral three-year appointment at Sandia National Laboratories
In 2001, the University of Missouri
established the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs
to advance the study and practice of governance.
The University of Missouri's Missouri Tigers
athletic programs have an official mascot named Truman the Tiger
. On July 1, 1996, Northeast Missouri State University became Truman State University
—to mark its transformation from a teachers' college
to a highly selective liberal arts university
and to honor the only Missourian to become president. A member institution of the City Colleges of Chicago
, Harry S Truman College
in Chicago, Illinois
, is named in his honor for his dedication to public colleges and universities. In 2000, the headquarters for the State Department
, built in the 1930s but never officially named, was dedicated as the Harry S Truman Building
The Truman Sports Complex
, which contains the home stadiums for the Kansas City Chiefs
and Kansas City Royals
and is located close to Kansas City's border with Independence, is named after the former president.
Despite Truman's attempt to curtail the naval carrier arm, which led to the 1949 Revolt of the Admirals
an aircraft carrier, USS Harry S. Truman
, was named for him in February 1996.
The 129th Field Artillery Regiment is designated "Truman's Own" in recognition of Truman's service as commander of its D Battery during World War I
In Athens, Greece, a 12-foot-tall bronze statue of Truman was erected in 1963 with donations from Greek-Americans.
On November 13, 2018, Truman was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Command and General Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
- ^ Truman was vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt and became president upon Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945. As this was prior to the adoption of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967, a vacancy in the office of vice president was not filled until the next ensuing election and inauguration.
- ^ a b Truman was given the initial S as a middle name. There is controversy over whether the period after the S should be included or omitted, or if both forms are equally valid. Truman's own archived correspondence suggests that he regularly used the period when writing his name.
- ^ For example, see Fussell, Paul (1988). "Thank God for the Atomic Bomb". Thank God for the Atomic Bomb and Other Essays. New York Summit Books.
- ^ "County Judges 1923–1972". County History: County Judges. Kansas City, Missouri: Jackson County, Missouri. 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- ^ a b "County Judges 1923–1972".
- ^ "County Judges 1826–1922". County History: County Judges. Kansas City, Missouri: Jackson County, Missouri. 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- ^ "Use of the Period After the "S" in Harry S. Truman's Name". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
- ^ Niel Johnson; Verna Gail Johnson (1999). "Rooted in History: The Genealogy of Harry S. Truman". Harry S. Truman Library – Genealogy. Retrieved May 6, 2018..
- ^ "Ulster-Scots and the United States Presidents" (PDF). Ulster Scots Agency. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
- ^ Devine, Michael J. (2009). Harry S. Truman, the State of Israel, and the Quest for Peace in the Middle East. Truman State Univ Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-935503-80-4.
- ^ Schultz, Joseph P. (1982). Mid-America's Promise: A Profile of Kansas City Jewry. Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City. p. 33.
- ^ "San Francisco Jewish Bulletin, Volume 129". Jewish Community Publications. 1979. p. v.
- ^ a b c Oshinsky 2004, pp. 365–380.
- ^ Ferrell 1994, p. 25–26.
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 78–79.
- ^ KirKendall, Richard Stewart (1989). The Harry S. Truman Encyclopedia. Boston: G. K. Hall. p. 40. ISBN 9780816189151.
- ^ Danilov, Victor J. (2013). Famous Americans: A Directory of Museums, Historic Sites, and Memorials. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 268. ISBN 978-0-8108-9185-2.
- ^ a b Hamby 1995, pp. 17–18, 135.
- ^ Miller, Richard Lawrence (1986). Truman: The Rise to Power. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-07-042185-1.
- ^ Gross, Norman (2004). America's Lawyer-Presidents: From Law Office to Oval Office. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-8101-1218-6.
- ^ Jackman, Tom (Kansas City Star) (September 20, 1996). "49 Years Later, Truman Gets His Law License". Tuscaloosa News. Tuscaloosa, AL. p. 1D.
- ^ "Harry S. Truman's National Guard Enlistment Papers, June 22, 1917. RG407: Records of the Adjutant General's Office: Military Personnel File of Harry S. Truman, Subject Files. Service File, 1917-1957 [1 of 3]". Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum. p. 3. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
- ^ Ferrell, Robert H., ed. (1998). Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910–1959. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-8262-1203-0.
- ^ Offner, Arnold A. (2002). Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945–1953. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-8047-4254-2.
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 105–110.
- ^ Giangreco, D. M. "Capt. Harry Truman & Battery D, 129th Field Artillery In Action in the Argonne". Doughboy Center: The Story of the American Expeditionary Forces. WorldWar1.com. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- ^ Announcement of Harry S. Truman's Promotion to Captain, May 2, 1918
- ^ "Truman's Battery"
- ^ a b c d e f Farinacci, Donald J. (2017). Truman and MacArthur: Adversaries for a Common Cause. Hoosick Falls, NY: Merriam Press. pp. 71–72. ISBN 978-1-57638-630-9.
- ^ Giangreco 2002, pp. 181–186.
- ^ Daniels, Roger (2010). Immigration and the Legacy of Harry S. Truman. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-931112-99-4.
- ^ Espinosa, Gastón (2009). Religion and the American Presidency. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-231-14333-2.
- ^ Nielsen, Niels C. (2009). God In The Obama Era. New York: Morgan James Publishing. pp. 152–153, 156. ISBN 978-1-60037-646-7.
- ^ Tiernan, L. Curtis. "Biographical Sketch, L. Curtis Tiernan". Monsignor L. Curtis Tiernan Papers. Independence, MO: Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
- ^ "Biographical Sketch, L. Curtis Tiernan".
- ^ "FAQ: Was President Truman the first Baptist president?". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. Retrieved March 5, 2016..
- ^ Spalding, Elizabeth Edwards (2009), "Religion and the presidency of Harry S. Truman", in Espinosa, Gastón (ed.), Religion and the American Presidency: George Washington to George W. Bush, pp. 219–249.
- ^ Sobel, Robert (1990). Biographical Directory of the United States Executive Branch, 1774–1989. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 358. ISBN 978-0-313-26593-8. harry s truman discharged major 1919.
- ^ Pullen, Randy (1999). "Twice the Citizen—And Then Some". Army Reserve Magazine. Washington DC: U.S. Army Reserve: 12.
- ^ Clay, Steven E. (2010). US Army Order of Battle, 1919–1941. Ft. Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute Press. p. 878.
- ^ Tucker, Frank (December 1, 2010). "Army History: Truman, you're too old ...". Gateway Today. St. Louis: Association of the United States Army, St. Louis Chapter. pp. 5–8.
- ^ a b Army History: Truman, you're too old
- ^ Maddox, Robert James (2007). Hiroshima in History: The Myths of Revisionism. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-8262-1732-5.
- ^ "Biographical Sketch: Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States". Trumanlibrary.org. Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- ^ Pullen, Twice the Citizen
- ^ "Harry S. Truman Military Personnel File". Record Group 407. Washington DC: National Archives. 1917–1973. Retrieved December 17, 2018 – via Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 63–64, 68.
- ^ Hamby 1995, pp. 410–412.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 7–9.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 11–12.
- ^ Hamby 1995, pp. 236–247.
- ^ Alexrod, Alan. The Real History of the Cold War: A New Look at the Past. Sterling. p. 44.
- ^ Michael James Lacey (1991). The Truman Presidency. pp. 35–36. ISBN 9780521407731.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 12–14.
- ^ Herman, Arthur (2012), Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, New York: Random House, pp. 103, 118, 194, 198–199, 235–236, 275, 281, 303, 312, ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 337–338: "Later estimates were that the Truman Committee saved the country as much as $15 billion."
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 373–378.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 14–16.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 15–17.
- ^ Occasions When Vice Presidents Have Voted to Break Tie Votes in the Senate, Senate Historical Office, United States Senate, p. 7.
- ^ Harold Foote Gosnell, Truman's Crises: A Political Biography of Harry S. Truman (Greenwood Press, 1980), p. 212: "On only one occasion did [Truman] break a tie, and this was when his negative vote defeated a Taft amendment to the Lend-Lease Act which would have prevented postwar delivery of lend-lease goods contracted for during the war."
- ^ Robert C. Byrd, Senate, 1789–1989, Vol. 1: Addresses on the History of the United States Senate (Government Printing Office, 1988), p. 534: "In his eighty-two days as vice president, he had the opportunity to vote only once--on an amendment to limit the Lend-Lease extension bill. The vote was tied, and Truman voted no, which, in a sense, was unnecessary since the bill would have died even without his vote."
- ^ Schwab, Nick (August 13, 2014). "Lauren Bacall and Harry Truman's Piano Moment Led to Bigger Things". US News. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
- ^ Paul Ham, Hiroshima Nagasaki, p. 68
- ^ Alonzo Hamby, "Truman, Harry S." in The Encyclopedia of the American Presidency edited by Leonard Levy and Louis Fisher (vol 4 1994) pp. 1497–1505.
- ^ Hamby 1995, pp. 301–302, 472.
- ^ McCoy 1984, pp. 21–22.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 19–20.
- ^ Alexrod, Alan. The Real History of the Cold War: A New Look at the Past. Sterling. p. 56.
- ^ "Total Casualties – The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki". atomicarchive.com. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- ^ Miller 1974, pp. 227–231.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 24–28.
- ^ Kramer, Ronald C; Kauzlarich, David (2011), Rothe, Dawn; Mullins, Christopher W (eds.), "Nuclear weapons, international law, and the normalization of state crime", State crime: Current perspectives, pp. 94–121, ISBN 978-0-8135-4901-9.
- ^ Ryall, Julian (June 4, 2015). "US museum must call Hiroshima and Nagasaki 'war crimes', say Japanese". Retrieved June 8, 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- ^ "「なんであんな殺され方をしたのか、私は知りたい。あの世で、ちゃんとお兄ちゃんに説明できるように」――原爆投下から70年。広島の被爆者が語った原爆被害と戦争への思い - IWJ Independent Web Journal". iwj.co.jp. August 6, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
- ^ "Harry S. Truman: Address in Milwaukee, Wisconsin". www.presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
- ^ Lambers, William (May 30, 2006). Nuclear Weapons. William K Lambers. p. 11. ISBN 0-9724629-4-5.
- ^ McCoy 1984, pp. 54–55.
- ^ "Rail Strike Paralyzes Entire U.S." Universal Studios. May 23, 1946.
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 498–501.
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 501–506.
- ^ Acacia, John (2009). Clark Clifford: The Wise Man of Washington. p. 22. ISBN 978-0813139258.
- ^ McCoy 1984, pp. 64–65.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 48–50.
- ^ McCoy 1984, pp. 96–102.
- ^ Markel, Howard (2015), "'Give 'Em Health, Harry'", Milbank Quarterly, 93 (1): 1–7, doi:10.1111/1468-0009.12096, PMC 4364422, PMID 25752341.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 84–86.
- ^ Lamb, Charles M; Nye, Adam W (2012), "Do Presidents Control Bureaucracy? The Federal Housing Administration during the Truman‐Eisenhower Era", Political Science Quarterly, 127 (3): 445–467, doi:10.1002/j.1538-165x.2012.tb00734.x, JSTOR 23563185.
- ^ Neustadt 1954, pp. 349–381.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 56–57.
- ^ James M. McCormick, and Eugene R. Wittkopf. "Bipartisanship, partisanship, and ideology in congressional-executive foreign policy relations, 1947–1988." Journal of Politics 52.4 (1990): 1077–1100.
- ^ Freeland 1970, p. 90.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 62–63.
- ^ May, Ernest R. (2002) "1947–48: When Marshall Kept the U.S. out of War in China." Journal of Military History 66#4: 1001–1010. online
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 595–597.
- ^ Ottolenghi 2004, pp. 963–988.
- ^ Baylis, Thomas. How Israel was Won: A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, p. 55 (Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield, 1999).
- ^ Holmes, David. The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama, pp. 16–17. (U. Georgia Press, 2012).
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 604–605.
- ^ "Harry S. Truman: Address in St. Paul at the Municipal Auditorium". www.presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
- ^ "A quote by Harry Truman". www.goodreads.com.
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- ^ The Editorial Board (November 24, 2017). "Opinion – When a Tax Cut Costs Millions Their Medical Coverage". The New York Times.
- ^ McCoy 1984, pp. 153–158.
- ^ Pietrusza 2011, pp. 226–232.
- ^ "Footnotes on Political Battles of 1948". Truman's Library. Truman's Library. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
- ^ Bray, William J. "Recollections of the 1948 Campaign". Truman's Library. Truman's Library. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 747–749.
- ^ Young & Schilling 2019, pp. 1–2.
- ^ Young & Schilling 2019, pp. 152–159.
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 756–758.
- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 762–764.
- ^ a b McCoy 1984, pp. 222–27.
- ^ Dean, John (2007), Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches, Penguin, pp. 257, 315.
- ^ Matray 1979, pp. 314–333.
- ^ Stokesbury 1990, pp. 81–90.
- ^ Cohen & Gooch 2006, pp. 165–195.
- ^ Stokesbury 1990, pp. 123–129.
- ^ "How the Korean War Almost Went Nuclear".
- ^ a b Presidential Job Approval for Richard Nixon at the American Presidency Project.
- ^ Wells 1979, pp. 116–158.
- ^ McCoy 1984, pp. 197–199, 232.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 89–91.
- ^ May 2002, pp. 1001–1010.
- ^ Ferrell 1994, pp. 217–218, 224.
- ^ "Harry S Truman, "Statement on Formosa," January 5, 1950". University of Southern California. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
- ^ Donovan 1983, pp. 198–199.
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- ^ Mark S. Byrnes,"'Overruled and Worn Down': Truman Sends an Ambassador to Spain." Presidential Studies Quarterly 29.2 (1999): 263–279.
- ^ Dallek 2008, pp. 87–88.
- ^ McCoy 1984, pp. 194, 217–218.
- ^ Hogan, Michael J. (2000). A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 254–5. ISBN 9780521795371.
- ^ Kirkendall, Richard S. (2012). The Civil Liberties Legacy of Harry S. Truman. Truman State UP. p. 124. ISBN 9781612480848.
- ^ Weinstein 1997, pp. 450–451.
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- ^ a b "Did Truman Know about Venona?". fas.org. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- ^ McCoy 1984, pp. 234–235.
- ^ Nohlen, Dieter (2005), Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook, I, p. 556, ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6.
- ^ Chong-do Hah, and Robert M. Lindquist, "The 1952 steel seizure revisited: A systematic study in presidential decision making." Administrative Science Quarterly (1975): 587-605 online.
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- ^ McCullough 1992, pp. 936–938, 945–947.
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Biographies of Truman
- Burnes, Brian (2003). Harry S. Truman: His Life and Times. Kansas City, MO: Kansas City Star Books. ISBN 978-0-9740009-3-0.
- Dallek, Robert (2008). Harry S. Truman. New York: Times Books. ISBN 978-0-8050-6938-9.
- Daniels, Jonathan (1998). The Man of Independence. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-1190-9.
- Donovan, Robert J. (1983). Tumultuous Years: 1949–1953. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-01619-2.
- Ferrell, Robert H. (1994). Harry S. Truman: A Life. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. ISBN 978-0-8262-1050-0.
- Hamby, Alonzo L., ed. (1974). Harry S. Truman and the Fair Deal. Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath & Co. ISBN 978-0-669-87080-0.
- Hamby, Alonzo L. (1995). Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504546-8.
- Judis, John B. (2014). Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-16109-5.
- Freeland, Richard M. (1970). The Truman Doctrine and the Origins of McCarthyism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-8147-2576-4.
- Giglio, James N. (2001). Truman in Cartoon and Caricature. Kirksville, Missouri: Truman State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8138-1806-1.
- Kirkendall, Richard S. (1989). Harry S. Truman Encyclopedia. Boston: G. K. Hall Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8161-8915-1.
- McCoy, Donald R. (1984). The Presidency of Harry S. Truman. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-0252-0.
- McCullough, David (1992). Truman. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-86920-5.
- Margolies, Daniel S. ed. A Companion to Harry S. Truman (2012); 614pp; emphasis on historiography; see Sean J. Savage, "Truman in Historical, Popular, and Political Memory," pp 9–25. excerpt
- Miller, Merle (1974). Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman. New York: Putnam Publishing. ISBN 978-0-399-11261-4.
- Mitchell, Franklin D. (1998). Harry S. Truman and the News Media: Contentious Relations, Belated Respect. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-1180-1.
- Oshinsky, David M. (2004). "Harry Truman". In Brinkley, Alan; Dyer, Davis (eds.). The American Presidency. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-618-38273-6.
- Pietrusza, David (2011). 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America. New York: Union Square Press. ISBN 978-1-4027-6748-7.
- Scarborough, Joe (2020). Saving Freedom. New York: Harper Collins.
- Ambrose, Stephen E. (1983). Eisenhower: 1890–1952. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-44069-5.
- Binning, William C.; Esterly, Larry E.; Sracic, Paul A. (1999). Encyclopedia of American Parties, Campaigns, and Elections. Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-8131-1755-3.
- Chambers II, John W. (1999). The Oxford Companion to American Military History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507198-0.
- Cohen, Eliot A.; Gooch, John (2006). Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War. New York: Free Press. ISBN 978-0-7432-8082-2.
- Current, Richard Nelson; Freidel, Frank Burt; Williams, Thomas Harry (1971). American History: A Survey. II. New York: Knopf.
- Eakin, Joanne C.; Hale, Donald R., eds. (1995). Branded as Rebels. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. ASIN B003GWL8J6.
- Eisler, Kim Isaac (1993). A Justice for All: William J. Brennan, Jr., and the Decisions that Transformed America. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-76787-7.
- Evans, M. Stanton (2007). Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies. New York: Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-23866-5.
- Goodwin, Doris Kearns (1994). No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-64240-2.
- Haas, Lawrence J. Harry & Arthur: Truman, Vandenberg, and the Partnership That Created the Free World (2016)
- Hamilton, Lee H. (2009). "Relations between the President and Congress in Wartime". In James A. Thurber (ed.). Rivals for Power: Presidential–Congressional Relations. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-6142-7.
- Holsti, Ole (1996). Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-06619-3.
- Kloetzel, James E.; Charles, Steve, eds. (April 2012). Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalog. 1. Sidney, OH: Scott Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-89487-460-4.
- Lenczowski, George (1990). American Presidents and the Middle East. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-0972-7.
- MacGregor, Morris J. Jr. (1981). Integration of the Armed Services 1940–1965. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History. ISBN 978-0-16-001925-8.
- Savage, Sean J. (1991). Roosevelt: The Party Leader, 1932–1945. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-1755-3.
- Skidmore, Max J. (2004). After the White House: Former Presidents as Private Citizens (rev ed.). New York: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-29559-2.
- Stohl, Michael (1988). "National Interest and State Terrorism". The Politics of Terrorism. New York: CRC Press.
- Stokesbury, James L. (1990). A Short History of the Korean War. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-688-09513-0.
- Troy, Gil (2008). Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00293-1.
- Weinstein, Allen (1997). Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (revised ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-77338-X.
- Young, Ken; Schilling, Warner R. (2019). Super Bomb: Organizational Conflict and the Development of the Hydrogen Bomb. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-1-5017-4516-4.
- Griffith, Robert, ed. (Autumn 1975). "Truman and the Historians: The Reconstruction of Postwar American history". The Wisconsin Magazine of History. 59 (1).
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